Written by Claire Messenger, International Training Programme Manager
Last week I visited Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property in Cambridgeshire comprising a Jacobean-style house with gardens and a working watermill. Anglesey Abbey is believed to have been founded by Henry I in 1135 as the hospital of St. Mary. By 1609 it had been converted into a residential property and it was gifted to the National Trust in 1922 by Lord Fairhaven.
My visit was prompted, not by the beautiful house but by the incredible Winter Garden which has a famous snowdrop collection!! Snowdrops are one of the earliest flowering plants in the UK and are usually considered to be a sign that spring is on its way (and the recent weather would certainly suggest that’s true!!).
The Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey is astonishing – full of colour and scent despite the season – and a mile-long walk around the gardens takes visitors along the riverside and gives the opportunity to stop at Lode Mill, a working watermill. A watermill has probably stood on the site of Lode Mill since the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 while the Mill which stands today is likely to have been built in the eighteenth century. We were lucky enough to arrive just as the mill was milling corn and I was able to buy a bag of freshly ground National Trust flour!!
As those of you who visited Kingston Lacy as part of their ITP 2018 experience know, the National Trust do an incredible job preserving and presenting their historic houses and landscapes and Anglesey Abbey is a perfect example of their Trust’s hard work and their dedicated teams of volunteers.